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    Volume 10 |Issue 48 | December 23, 2011 |

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One Off

What's So Despicable about Politics?

Aly Zaker

Having gone through a secondary school and college that had no room for politics I was wary of even having a political opinion when I entered Dhaka University. I thought, as a routine, I would finish my university education and someday land a respectable job. Had my father been alive I'd have had no option but to sit for the Central Superior Service Examination of Pakistan to follow in his footsteps of becoming a bureaucrat. But he had decided to leave us when I was in my second year of intermediate. That did two things to me. One, it absolved me of becoming a bureaucrat and two, made me aware of the fact that I had to fend for myself monetarily soon after coming out of the university.

However, as was usual in those days, I was approached by a number of student political parties to join them. One of them took me to a leader of theirs who told me that “Politics was nothing but being conscious of and vocal about your basic rights as a human being.” This I took to heart and decided to join left leaning student politics, albeit not so actively.

These days I often find that the young people in their interviews or on Facebook proudly proclaim that they hate politics. Little do they realise that when they say that they hate politics, they become political. This means they are not uninterested about or apathetic to politics but are anti-politics. I distinctly remember that someone commented about the heated arguments we often see amongst opposing politicians as being ‘uncivilised.’ I had sarcastically remarked that the benches in the house of commons of the British Parliament were riveted to the floor not without a reason! There was a time when members used to throw these benches at each other. Obviously the young lady could not read the innuendo in my comment. The principle of politics is to generate heat. It should be the principle of the politicians to keep the heat 'under control'. The more civilised we get, the more refined politics will become. But no civilised society can be devoid of politics. A society or a country without politics is barbaric to say the least. A free-for-all pandemonium leading to rule through the language of weapon takes over. I hope our younger people appreciate this. Indeed, I firmly believe that if we are to have a civilised political atmosphere the young and the enlightened should take over from the politicians of the yester years, start mass contact, and go beyond the boundaries of their hub. A few things they should, however, constantly bear in mind. They must not lose sight of the birth-pangs this beloved nation of ours underwent and the history in its right perspective. They must know the common people of the country, their values and aspirations and, more importantly, their pains and tribulations. Unfortunately in our society expediency of all forms seem to have become a norm. We want to conveniently forget all values and ideals and take recourse to inappropriate and shortcut demeanour.

While negating politics on account of the fault of the politicians, they must not forget that the older generation politicians of this country had, more often than not, their acts together and facts right. Or else it would not have been possible to free Bangladesh starting with the language movement and ending with the war of liberation in 1971.

This, of course, is not true of all politicians of the present time. Some of them have bought their way into politics and subsequently in the position of power by the sheer strength of money. But the model of politics as was seen in our part of the world was one of a passion. A passion for doing something for the people at large. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Sher-e-Bangla, Mawlana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, or their predecessors and compatriots like Desh Bandhu Chitta Ranjan Das, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Bidhan Chandra Roy, the Late Jyoti Basu et al. had the same motive behind choosing politics as their full-time vocation. It is indeed necessary for today's politicians, whether in power or out of it, to think of the country and its people and coax the younger generation to eventually assume the position of leadership when the time comes.


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